Bilkis Bano case: SC fixes Aug 7 for final hearing on pleas against remission to convicts

The Supreme Court on Monday fixed August 7 for the start of the final hearing on a batch of pleas challenging the remission granted last year to all the 11 convicts in the case of Bilkis Bano gang rape and the murder of her family members during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

A bench of justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan noted that the pleadings have been completed and all the convicts have been served notices through newspaper publications or directly.

“We hold that pleadings in the matter are complete and all the respondents have been served notices in all the cases though newspaper publications or directly. We list the matter for final hearing on August 7. All parties should file short written submissions, synopsis and list of dates,” the bench said.

On May 9, the top court had directed the publication of notices in local newspapers, including in Gujarati and English, against the convicts who could not be served notices, including the one whose house was found by the local police to be locked and his phone switched off.

All 11 convicts were granted remission by the Gujarat government and released on August 15 last year.

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Bano has filed a writ petition challenging the remissions.

Several other PILs including one by CPI(M) leader Subhashini Ali, independent journalist Revati Laul, former vice-chancellor of the Lucknow University Roop Rekha Verma have been filed against the remission.

Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Mahua Moitra has also filed a PIL against the remission and release.

Bano was 21 years old, and five months pregnant, when she was gang raped while fleeing from the riots that broke out after the Godhra train-burning incident. Her three-year-old daughter was among seven family members killed in the riots.

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